Oklahoma City, OK--(UTSports) In the longest game in Tennessee softball history, the Lady Vols fell 5-3 to Oklahoma in the bottom of the 12th inning in Game One of the Women’s College World Series Championship Series.
Lauren Chamberlain blasted a homerun down the leftfield line, her 30th of the season tying for the most in the nation in 2013, putting an end to the longest WCWS Championship Series game in NCAA Tournament history.
The 12-inning, three hour and 50 minute bout in front of 8,300 fans at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium bested Tennessee’s 10-inning game with Arizona back in 2007.
Tennessee (52-11) and Oklahoma (56-4) will now square off for Game 2 on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN.
The loss was the first of the 2013 NCAA Tournament for the Lady Vols.
Game 1 was nothing short of a pitcher’s duel between Tennessee’s Ellen Renfroe and Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts who kept both teams off the board until the 11th inning.
Renfroe (19-5) finished the game with 13 strikeouts, one shy of her season high while allowing 10 hits, 7 in the extra frames and tossing 180 pitches.
Rickets (35-1) threw 188 pitches while also striking out 13 allowing five hits and three earned runs.
The Lady Vols looked like they had the game sewn up when Madison Shipman blasted a three-run homerun in the top of the 11th inning to deep centerfield to put the Lady Vols up 3-0 over Oklahoma.
But the Sooners fired back in the bottom of the 12th as Ricketts reached on a sky high ball that got caught up in the wind and dropped in the infield. Ricketts was credited with a double and came around to score in the next at bat when Brittany Williams sent a double to right centerfield.
Williams advanced to third on a ground out and came home on a triple to deep centerfield by Destinee Martinez. Martinez tied things up for the Sooners crossing the plate on a double to left center by Callie Parsons, but was then thrown out trying to go to third to end the inning.
The Sooners sealed the win in the next innings with Chamberlain’s round tripper and take a 1-0 WCWS Championship Series lead.
The Lady Vols are now 2-2 all-time in extra innings in the Women’s College World Series and 2-3 this season in extra inning outings.
Their longest Women’s College World Series extra inning battle was an 11-inning 1-0 victory over No. 1 Michigan in 2005. Earlier this postseason they beat NC State 1-0 in 11 innings in Knoxville during the NCAA Regionals.
Tennessee is now 5-1 on the season when Renfroe has 10-plus strikeouts.
Tonight's attendance of 8,300 set a Session 7 record and brought this year's total to 62,156 (average of 8,879), which is ahead of last year's then-record 60,761 through the same number of sessions (average of 8,680).